Spain is one of the countries with the highest number of bars per person in the world. According to a recent study from the Nielsen consultancy firm*, we are the Europeans who eat out the most, with up to 56% preferring bars as a first choice. Catering in Spain is an established, profitable and popular form of leisure, in which “tapas” has become a habit strongly attached to social culture.

If you’re not afraid to invest in a market with fierce competition, setting up a tapas bar continues to be a winning business option. But how can you do it with a low budget? From our experience as an equipment supplier for bars, we suggest these 5 keys to setting up a low budget or low cost bar.


If you want to set up a bar and don’t want to have to close down sooner than expected, you have to know that the location of your establishment is a key factor. Many businesspeople prefer to locate their bar in an area with other bars. Restaurant businesses usually have more opportunities when located in a commercial and leisure area than taking a chance alone, with the exception of new residential areas or areas with the establishment of large businesses.

At QUALITYFRY we recommend prioritising premises with a high commercial value, even if they lack adequate kitchen installations, such as a smoke vent, as with current hospitality technology it is possible to offer a kitchen service without needing an extractor hood. The Fast Chef Elite fryer has a filtering system that allows smokeless frying, reducing odours by up to 94%, and a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes which allow a tapas bar to be created and made sustainable, as shown by successful businesses such as La Sureña, MásQMenos and El Papelón, which work with this machine.


Single-product tapas bars are increasingly popular with clients. Specialising in a product with which the client can identify the business, or introducing a product that differentiates your proposal from competitors is becoming a successful trend. It is essential to make the product the heart of the business, providing quality, market cuisine in preparations. We recommend designing a short tapas menu which maintains respect for seasonal produce. Less is more in a low cost bar.


With the crisis, the price variable has taken on great importance. A low cost hospitality model requires great control of expenses, without reducing the quality provided. We have determined through our clients that the introduction of fried products improves the profitability of the business. Fried products have a greater profit margin between the cost of the raw material and the sales price of the product. Take this into account when designing your tapas menu.


The next important factor for a bar to operate is to make the client feel well-served. Various factors affect this, with not only the service of professional waiting staff, but also waiting times, the environment created in the establishment, the cleanliness of the premises and the visibility of the product. Many bars are starting to incorporate kitchens visible to the client. This is more transparent and provides confidence. You can rely on safe, compact cooking equipment such as the Fast Chef fryer, which can be placed behind the bar.


Allocate part of your budget to creating an atmosphere with its own personality. With limited investment it is possible to convey the image of a modern, comfortable, and different restaurant space. Interior design seeks to project an overall image of quality, extending to gastronomy and service to the client.

Hospitality is one of the businesses that requires absolute commitment. Long working days to adapt to the schedules of consumers and a strict control of expenses and revenues. This great effort will not lead to business viability if you do not have a budget that differentiates you and if service to clients is not satisfactory. Making a tapas bar work does not always require great investment; occasionally, following the right steps makes low cost a success factor.

*Copyright @ Nielsen Company. “El estilo de vida de los españoles” (The lifestyle of the Spanish). 2015

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